Monday, June 28, 2010

How we started...

I thought I'd start doing a weekly bit on some of the different horses we have, especially some of our foundation stock.  So, naturally figured I should start with our first Mini - Las Doradas Etoile de Mar (known as ET), but first I thought I'd give the background as to how we ended up "in Minis".

In 1999, my real estate mentor/trainer did a personality profile on me for my strengths and weaknesses in business.  One thing that came up numerous times (I don't remember but they had it on recording!) was my NEED to have horses around me as I derived a great deal of happiness and pleasure from them.

I had always wanted either an Arab, Morgan or the ultimate a Fresian.  After my unsuccessful attempts to convince my husband that I really really really needed a Fresian, I suggested we look at Miniature Horses.  We were only on 2.5 acres so, that seemed ideal, as I really didn't have time to ride then as work and school kept me pretty busy but I wanted a Fresian!

So while we're up on a weekend getaway I mention we could go by this Miniature Horse ranch and look.  My thinking this will give me my horse fix and until I've banked the money for that Fresian, it would work.

We end up at Las Doradas Ranch early in the afternoon - it's cold, wet and drippy drizzly grey day in November - and are presented with a sales list and over 150 Minis!  Not knowing the first thing about them other than brief research online,  I'm lost as the names Buckeroo and Rowdy and Banana are tossed around, I just shake my head in agreement - such a noob!

We look at a number of Minis - okay we were mobbed by about 40, and keep insisting we only wanted pets, as sticker shock set in midst the sea of Minis.  Finally the breeder asks what we like in big horses, and I reply Fresians.  She points out the black mare and her weanling in front of us, explaining she'd had a huge foal crop with an abundance of black horses.  So she offers us a great deal on the mare and foal.  My husband points out another (black of course) colt that he likes.  Obvious pet quality even to my untrained Mini eyes, so we end up buying Etoile, Silhouette (her foal) and Woody.

That started W-E-S-CO Farms.

We came home and  I quickly ordered all the horse 'stuff' I could find as they were arriving in a week. This was a task in 1999 as there weren't that many online stores or the number of Miniature Horse vendors out there - but we did it!  Made calls to the vet,.picked up hay, bedding, etc., and lined up a farrier.

Arrival day - the horses are unloaded an shown into their gorgeously appointed paddock (all vinyl covered chain link fencing), well bedded stalls, fresh water and salt blocks all ready!

We stand back and watch our gang wander around admiring them.

As the breeder is leaving she tells my by the way, Etoile is due in May.  I'm like, do for what?  Oh she's pregnant!  ACK!  I have six months do learn about foaling!  That wasn't really were we were going, but I jumped in the deep end of the pool and started treading water.

I joined AMHA and AMHR and all the local clubs I could find.  Order a plethora of books (Amazon loved me!), and found Lil Beginnings Forum and a few yahoo groups which I haunted daily. Copying important stuff to files, making lists and studying the studbooks online.

ET' a few days before she foaled.  I fed her fat, not realizing Minis potential for always being hungry!

We feel in love with our horses.  Fortunately, Etoile foaled like a trooper, even with my best attempts to help her, she was giving me the stand back human I know what to do look (she's still that way!). Woody was gelded and we bought our first stallion, Sugar Creek Houdini in May after Una was foaled.  A Mini breeder was born in the trenches doing things the way I really council potential breeders NOT to do when starting a breeding program.

Silhouette all fuzzy mid winter.  (she's my gaga and the last horse that will ever leave here!)

We still have ET, Sissy (Silhouette) and Woody eleven years later - they're lifers along with Una our first foal. Houdini has passed on a few years ago, but we have his daughter Jiji and son Ray (out of ET and a favorite gelding here) to carry on.  Since then we've really worked at improving our breeding practices with a much more critical eye.

Woody (he ended up being an all over roaned out appy!) meeting Mumia

Since then we've had numerous horses come in and out of our lives, we've lost foals and mares to various illness, old age, injury.  We've sold a few we never thought we would, and kept some I never intended too!  Most we miss dearly that leave and I love to hear from new owners regularly!. But there have been a few I hope never to see again - lol!

That's it - how we started "in Minis".  Not how I would do it again if we had 'do-overs', but hind-sight is 20/20!

I would highly recommend this book for any potential breeders 
and buy a copy for your vet if he/she isn't up on Minis!

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